Michigan will forbid the teaching of “racial stereotypes,” if a bill co-sponsored by Republican state Rep. Andrew Fink ’06 becomes law.
The state’s House of Representatives passed the bill on Nov. 2. Known as House Bill 5097, it establishes “core academic curriculum content” which includes banning “race or gender stereotyping,” but does not explicitly mention critical race theory.
The bill establishes that academic standards must relate only to academic or cognitive instruction.
According to the bill, “implicit race or gender stereotyping” includes teaching that racism is inherent in particular races, and that individuals bear guilt for historical wrongs committed.
Democrats in the Michigan State House refused to cast their votes, allowing the bill to pass by a vote of 55 – 0.
Democrat state Rep. Karen Whitsett said on Twitter that Michigan Republicans denied her black colleague Rep. Cynthia A. Johnson permission to speak on the bill.
“Dems held their vote until she could speak, but the Republicans chose to close the board,” Whitsett said in a Twitter post. “The message sent? Our voices don’t matter unless we say what they allow us to say. That’s completely unacceptable.”
Fink commented on the trajectory of the bill and whether it will pass Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk.
“I hesitate to speculate on what the governor will do,” Fink said, “but she has vetoed a lot of common sense legislation so far, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she did the same here.”
Fink said the bill’s intent is to protect students.
“No student should be made to feel that he or she is destined to be less successful or is less valuable because of the color of their skin,” Fink said.
“Our legislation would ensure that no public schools in our state will push such a poisonous notion.”
According to Fink, the bill follows a national push by parents.
“We are seeing a nationwide pushback against these beliefs because parents understand that they poison a child’s mind. They assign stereotypes to people based on the color of their skin or the bodies they were born into,” Fink said. “Parents all over the country recognize this evil for what it is, and this bill is our attempt to combat it here in Michigan.”